DENVER, Colo. – The University of Colorado Colorado Springs used a 15-2 run to close out the game and advance to its first RMAC Shootout Championship game in program history with a 75-70 victory against Colorado Mines at the Auraria Events Center. UCCS will play the winner of the Metro State and Fort Lewis game on Saturday night at 7 p.m.
Derrick White surpassed 1,000 career points and broke the UCCS single-season scoring record with a game-high 21 points. He now has 1,008 career points and 568 points this season. Alex Welsh scored 16 points and shot seven-of-10 from the field.
UCCS took an early five-point lead against the Orediggers, ranked ninth in the latest NABC Division II Top 25 Poll, with points on four of its first five possessions and finished by back-to-back three-pointers from Derrick White and Alex Welsh. Colorado Mines answered with a 13-0 run to take a 18-10 lead with 11 minutes and 28 seconds remaining, and while the Mountain Lions made it a one-point game several times in the rest of the half, the Orediggers kept the lead and took a 40-35 advantage at halftime.
Tim Billingsley scored the first field goal of the second half to cut the Colorado Mines lead down to three points, but the Mountain Lions couldn’t pull within a possession of the Orediggers again for the next nine minutes. Billingsley scored five of the seven points in a small UCCS run over a 90-second span to tie the game at 58-58 with 9:54 to play. The Mountain Lions tied it again at 60-60, before Colorado Mines used an eight-point rally to go ahead 68-60 with 5:05 to play.
An alley-oop from Darius Pardner to White, and the following and-1 free throw, sparked the 15-2 run for the Mountain Lions in the final five minutes. White and Pardner made back-to-back three-pointers to pull UCCS within one point at 70-69, and TreShawn Wilford made the go-ahead free throws with 1:49 to play. The Mountain Lion defense held Colorado Mines scoreless on six field goal attempts in the final two minutes to secure the win.
Pardner led the defense with four and UCCS half held Colorado Mines one-of-11 from the three-point line and outrebounded the Orediggers 22-14 in the second half. White finished one rebound shy of his fourth double-double of the season with a team-high nine rebounds.
UCCS has won 12 of its last 13 games and continues to build upon its program record with the 21st win of the season. The win for the Mountain Lions against the team ranked fourth in the region should increase the chances of a selection to the NCAA postseason when the field is announced late Sunday night.